|On-Line Bible Lessons|
Pastor Ovid Need
We saw the danger of the false gods of the Canaanites in chp. 7. They would influence and win away the hearts of God's people from God's Word. They would offer prosperity apart from God. He moves away from the false gods of chp. 7 to the prosperity which would come as they obeyed chp. 7.
Now we come to one of the most powerful passages in Scripture, as well as one of the most im&SHY;portant. This passage deals with wealth which would be the eighth commandment. Spurgeon's Catechism in question 59 says, "Which is the eighth commandment? A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal (Ex. 20:15). #60, Question, What is forbidden in the eighth commandment? A. The eighth commandment forbids whatsoever does or may unjustly hinder our own, or our neighbor's wealth, or outward estate (I Tim. 5:8; Prov. 28:19; Prov. 21:6)." The Westminster Shorter Catechism has one more question here which will help explain this. " Question #74, What is required in the eighth commandment? A. The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others." To sum these up, we have the requirement of lawful gaining of wealth as well as the use of it for lawful the benefit of ourselves and others. The eighth commandment absolutely forbids any means to gain wealth other than God's way.
"Lawful wealth is that wealth which comes to man as he abides by God's law and applies work, thrift, and forethought to his activities. (Institutes, Vol. I, pg. 523)."
1. Moses, here in Deut. 8, makes this very clear at the start. He reminds God's people over and over where their true wealth and prosperity will come from. Where does it come from, v. 1; vv. 17-18? ________________________________________________________________________
As we read chp. 8 we will see that wealth, in itself, is not a sign of God's blessings. Wealth can be the result of theft and fraud. This goes back to the root. The "fruit" of prosperity can be (and many times is) built on the root of theft and fraud. Wealth can be an outward sign of the blessings of God upon His people as they establish His covenant and obey His principles as revealed in His Word.
2. We also see in this chapter the purpose of wealth. What is the reason God gives wealth to His people, v. 1, 18? _________________________________________________________________
3. What is the very grave danger to God's people which is attached
to wealth, as given in this chapter? He refers to this danger
at least six times here in these twenty verses and we have seen
this happen more times than we care to count.
Let us give a couple of quotes from "The Institutes of Biblical law," which make a very impor&SHY;tant point, pg. 524. "In every era of history, capitalization is a product of the Puritan disposi&SHY;tion, of the willingness to forego present pleasures to accumulate some wealth for future purpose. Where there is no character, there is no capitalization but rather decapitalization, the steady depletion of wealth. Society becomes consumption centered rather than productive, and it begins to decapitalize the centuries rich inheritance which surrounds it.
Thus, decapitalization is proceeded always by a breakdown of faith and character. Where men feel that private happiness is man's purpose and goal rather than serving and glorifying God, and finding joy in Him, where men feel that life owes them something rather than seeing themselves as debtors to God, and when men feel called to fulfill themselves apart from God rather than in Him, their society is in rapid process of decapitalization."
We see this loss of character mentioned above all through society as society changes from a "saving" society to a "spending" society. Rather than leaving accumulated wealth for godly children, we are leaving accumulated debt to ungodly children (and to the godly children, also). The wealth of our fathers has rapidly changed into debt for our great-grandchildren as society pursues personal pleasure. A fine, yet sad example would be borrowing a second mortgage upon a house to go on an expensive vacation.
Now, what is the goal of wealth? It is that man prosper (according to v. 1) in his task of ad&SHY;vancing the Kingdom of God over every area of the earth, Gen. 1:28; Matt. 6:33; and 28:19, 20. Man is to exercise dominion over everything for the glory of God and the prosperity he gains accord&SHY;ing to Deut. 8:1, 18 is to enable him to do that, I Cor. 10:31.
4. We have talked about this already, but what is the ONLY means to lawfully gain wealth, II Thes.3:10?
"Whenever godly men establish their superior productivity and gain wealth, they thereby glorify God."
5. Wealth in itself is good and is a blessing from the Lord. What is there about wealth that God condemns? There are a couple of things:
a. Deut. 1:17 _______________________________________________________________________
b. Ps. 49:6-7; Prov. 10:15; 18:11 ____________________________________________________
c. I Tim. 6:10 _______________________________________________________________________
(This will prevent our obeying God with our money as well as with our time.)
d. To confirm this, what happened to Rehoboam, II Chron. 12:1?
We have seen the danger which Moses is warning of here in chp. 8. God has done some things to prepare and strengthen them against this danger. He has led them through the wilderness and provided all of their needs while there. This would prove that it is the Lord God which supplied all of their needs.
V. 2 The forty years had a couple of purposes, both to humble and prove them. To humble would be to force a dependence upon Him. To prove would be the use of circumstance to reveal whether His people will keep His commandments or not. Circumstances reveal what is in our heart and if what is revealed contrary to God's Word, they reveal what needs to be dealt with. CIR&SHY;CUMSTANCES DO NOT MAKE US WHAT WE ARE, THEY REVEAL WHAT WE ARE. See Jer. 17:5-10 and, espe&SHY;cially vv. 9-10. Circumstances will reveal whether we are depending on God or upon men. Our heart can, and quite often does, deceive us. Our circumstances will force what is in our heart to come out so it can be dealt with from God's Word. The wilderness proved what was in their heart and it will for us, also. The circumstances forced them to show what they really believed about God.
6. Our attitude toward God is revealed by our response toward:
a. Rom. 8:28 _________________________________________________________________________
b. Rom. 5:3 __________________________________________________________________________
c. I Pet. 2:13-25 (Lk. 7:8)
d. Deut. 8:10-11 _____________________________________________________________________
7. V. 3 The manna was supernatural provision from God for their needs. Our Lord used this in Matt. 4:4. It was to teach them the very thing we also need to know. What would this be, Heb. 13:5-6? ________________________________________________________________________
Our Lord used this principle in Matt. 6. He left the cares of this life up to God the Father as He continued on about His Father's business. Our temptation is the same, to become more con&SHY;cerned about the affairs of this life than about the affairs of His life, II Cor. 4:18 and Matt. 6.
8. We should point out here from verses 3 and 4 that God provided food and clothing. What are we to be content with, I Tim. 6:8?
Really, this is the only promise we have as children of the living God; and, as we obey God's Word we are commanded to be content with what we have, Heb. 13:5. In fact, the warning to Timothy by Paul is that the desire for more is a desire which can easily lead to sin, I Tim. 6.
9. We have already covered this, but let's go over it again. God will prosper His people who will put Him and His law-word first. This prosperity is for one purpose and one purpose only. What is that, Matt. 6:33?__________________________________________________________________
When we lose sight of this purpose of godly wealth we will fall into the sin which Paul warned Timothy of. You will notice that there is only ONE safe investment for wealth and that is into godly activities. Again, Matt. 6 covers this very well.
We should mention, here, also that the inheritance left by parents must go to godly children who will use it to further the cause of the Kingdom of God. If they have no godly children, and have only children who are in rebellion against God, then we have no choice before God but to consider them dead in this respect. The inheritance must go to a godly cause. It is NOT our money to do with as we please; it is His to be used according to His Word, Deut. 8:17-18. See Deut. 21:18-21; 1 Cor.5:9-13; Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13; Titus 3:10.
We have already pointed out that the church is not given capital punishment or the civil en&SHY;forcement of these laws, but the church is told to enforce them, I Cor. 5. Therefore, the Christian is to honor these laws and that would include the ones concerning the rebellious children. If godly parents would quit supporting ungodly children with God's money, the children would think again about the path which they choose. In fact, to support the child who is not serving God with God's money (all money is His) is to be partaker with that child's evil deeds and we will be held accountable before God for that use of His money.
Look at Ps. 50. The comparison there is between two people, the saints who love and serve God through their obedience, vv. 1-15. V. 15 tells them they have God at their right hand to deliver them in the day of trouble. Then, in vv. 16-22 we have the wicked of His people (v. 4, "--That he may judge His people--").
Now, look at v. 16. They claim to be part of the covenant people. (Covenant people would be the saved, "trust Christ and we have the promise of heaven," as well as those who inherit the physical covenant, promises or blessings, "do this and prosper"). These covenant people say they believe God and His Word, yet they ignore His Word, v. 17.
Notice what they did in v. 18, they saw a theft and agreed with him. We might add, what bet&SHY;ter way to agree with him than to give him the money God has trusted us with. We can find one definition of a theft over in Mal. 3:7-11 but it goes much further than this. ANY violation of the eighth commandment is theft. ANYTIME we use the funds which God has trusted us with in any manner which is not consistent with His Word we violate this commandment. When we give these funds to others who will use them in this inconsistent manner, we partake in their theft. Notice the next part of Ps. 50:18 "--taken part with adulterers." If you will follow the thought through the Scriptures concerning adultery, you will find by far the most common use is spiritual adul&SHY;tery. One example would be Heb. 12:16. The issue there with Esau would involve his serving the flesh over the spirit. Therefore (50:18), when we give "our" money which God has trusted us with to those who are serving the flesh over the spirit, we have become partaker with adulterers. There is no way around this and it would include our children as well as ANYONE else. We are stewards of God's money and we will be held accountable, I Cor. 4:2; Ps. 50:22; Deut. 8:19-20.
Deut. 8 clearly shows there is only ONE legitimate use of wealth and that, again, is found in I Cor. 10:31. Anything else is a sin which will have God's wrath against it. It will be accounted for.
We should point out here that probably one of the greatest proofs today of where we stand with God in our heart is in this matter of material possessions. The use of our money and time will be a sure indication of where our heart is, Matt. 6:21. Now, our money and time in the Lord's work will not mean our heart is in it, but if our heart is there these other things will be also. If anything will prove what is in our heart it will be our wealth. Spurgeon once said that too many church members were like his neighbor's pigs, all grunt and no bacon. There is also a state&SHY;ment of a priest from many years ago concerning his parishioners. He said in all his many years as a priest he had listened to people confess many fearful sins, but he had yet to hear any mem&SHY;ber confess to the most common of sins: being stingy toward the Lord!
VV. 5-6, this is Heb. 12. He used these experiences in the wilderness to train His people to keep His commandments.
The original land of Palestine (Israel) was a paradise on earth. It was the best piece of real-estate on earth at that time. What we see of this area today is the result of the curse of God against this land because of the peoples sin. The exact same thing could just as easily take place in the U.S.A..
10. VV. 10-18 is the key warning of this passage. This is the
heart of this chapter, as well as God's teachings on wealth. Can
you pick out what Moses does in 14-18 to counter the danger of
10-14, Isa. 51:1? (Really, there are two things they are told
11. VV. 19-20, what is Moses' final instruction concerning wealth? What will happen if God's people start viewing wealth as do the heathen around them?
"--Ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God." This is "tacked" onto the end of his instruction concerning wealth, (the eighth commandment). Therefore, "You would not obey the Word of God concerning the wealth God has permitted you to have."
How many of God's people are practicing witchcraft with their finances by refusing to recog&SHY;nize God's authority to tell them how to gain wealth, as well as how to use wealth, I Sam. 15:25? Do we?